How to deal with a child's tantrum

How do you deal with your child's tantrums? Those awful moments when children make a spectacle of themself, screaming and kicking, can be embarassing and harrowing for a parent. Tantrums in children can be controlled through some smart parenting. Here is your guide to stop children from throwing tantrums.

I could hear the child as I stepped into the Club House of my Housing Society, where the departmental store is located. As I walked towards the store, the sound got louder, and when I opened the door to the store, the child's loud screeches made me wince.

A young boy, barely three, was throwing the worst ever tantrum I have witnessed. The mother was visibly embarrassed, but the child couldn't care less. He kicked and he wailed. He rolled on the floor, held his breath and flung the biscuit packet the hassled mother gave him. He clawed at his mother's face as she tried to lift him off the floor. While a few residents suggested that she buy him what he wanted, I wondered, why any child would behave in this manner.

The answers to this might be quite complex – children are children, he's too young to know and the mother isn't a good parent and so on. I wasn't in the least bit amused, by either the boy's behaviour or the mother's actions or the appeasing words of the bystanders.

So, why does a child throw a tantrum? Why does he not take 'no' for an answer? Why does a child misbehave every time the parent(s) runs an errand? What is it that the parent(s) needs to do? Here are my suggestions on how best to tame temper tantrums in kids.

Why do some children resort to temper tantrums?

Children are oblivious to the world watching them, especially when they are in the midst of a tantrum. Their focus is only on what they want. They do not intend to embarrass the parent(s), in fact, they are unaware that they could be doing just that. Children can throw a tantrum because they want a toy that's on display at the store. They could want some special treats, like some chocolate or ice-cream or they could just want attention.

Temper tantrums are attention seeking tactics that some children adopt to manipulate the parent(s). As I understand it's a more violent version of emotional blackmail. It can also be a result of the parent(s) not paying heed to the child's basic needs.

If a child realises that his parent(s) give into his demands each time he throws a tantrum, there is all likelihood of it becoming a habit. A child throwing a tantrum should never be rewarded, is the first lesson for the parent(s). Giving into the child's demand might seem the easiest thing to do, but doing so will set a trend.

How best should you deal with your child's tantrum?

It is true that children will be children, but it is also true that the parent(s) as responsible adults must set rules and be in charge of disciplining their children. A young child does not know what acceptable behaviour is or when his demands become excessive. This is where the role of the adult, in the equation, becomes important. Though there are no prescribed methods to deal with temper tantrums in children, though there are definitely a number of ways that parent(s) can ensure good behaviour in their toddlers.

Schedule your grocery trips

A child throwing a tantrum when you are running an errand can be quite exasperating. But, hold on a second. Did you put what needs to be done, before your child's needs? Make sure that you don't tag a hungry or a tired child to the store. Go to the store when your child is fresh and has had something to eat.

Carry a toy or a snack along to keep the child engaged. The child doesn't know that you need to get the groceries home. To the child, it is a boring activity, and the child may be sleepy and/or hungry. Keep all these factors in mind when you go out shopping the next time.

Encourage communication

Your child might not be able to express himself as well as he can understand your words. It is important that you develop some kind of communication pattern where the child can let you know what he wants. He might not be able to tell you that he is tired if he hasn't yet learned to speak. This is where baby talk and sign language come in. Understand words that your child uses to express thirst, or hunger or fatigue. Look for signs that signify the same.

If you can provide what your child wants before it becomes an issue for him, you might just be able to control a tantrum.

Empower your child

Children, even pint-sized toddlers can have opinions and want to be able to control things. As an adult, you are always in charge, but give that little leeway that allows them a sense of responsibility. Say, 'no' only when you must, saying no to everything, makes it lose its significance.

Let your toddler decide what he wants to do. Does he want a banana or a pear? Does he want to watch cartoons or to listen to nursery rhymes? Does he want to play with his toys or do some colouring?

Decision making gives them the freedom to decide for themselves. They learn that they can take decisions for themselves. However, when you take a decision for them, they learn that you are in control of certain aspects of their lives.

They can decide which fruit to eat, but you decide it's time to eat. They can decide what to watch, but you decide when it's time to sleep. The roles get defined and the limits are set, and the child understands what he is allowed.

Avoid tantrum triggers

Doing everything right will not guarantee that your child doesn't throw a tantrum. If he has been throwing tantrums, the unlearning will take time. He will not stop throwing tantrums as soon as you introduce changes. He will continue to want to have his way. You need to avoid the triggers. You also need to talk to your child.

If you know your child might act up if you go out for dinner, because of the cramped and confined environment, why not order food in. Your child might throw a tantrum in a store because he wants something, or he may throw a tantrum because he is bored and wants your attention. You know the triggers, avoid the settings. Go to the store when your partner is home or have your partner pick up the groceries. Shop online, or ask the departmental store to deliver the goods. Don't put your child in situations that can start a tantrum.

Set rules and follow them

Let your child know that you will not give in to his demands if he throws a tantrum. Have this talk before heading out, or whenever you expect the tantrum. Make sure you follow the rules. If you promise him a treat, let him pick what he wants. Or else set the rules and let him know that he can pick something only from select items. He can have chocolate, but no ice-cream. He can have a candy, but no toys. Let your child know that he has to stick by what is decided. If he begins to throw a tantrum, the deal is off. No chocolate, no toy, no nothing!

Applaud good-behaviour

Praise your child whenever he demonstrates good behaviour – give him a hug, a peck on the cheek, a word of praise. Let your child know you noticed the change in him. Let him know that you like the change in him. Positive reactions from the parent(s) enforce a sense of responsibility in the child, and he aims for better behaviour.

Don't waver

When you say no for something, stick to it. Follow every routine that you have set. Don't be constantly changing routines, or giving into demands, after having refused. All this can confuse the child. So, plan nap time, and play time and meal time, and of course bedtime. Be consistent, so your child knows what to expect.

I always say that parenting is the biggest challenge in an adults' life. There are no handbooks and most parents go through the whole parenting routine through trial and error. At the end of the day, most parents do a fairly good job. You too can ensure that you make it a better experience by practising these simple doable tips.

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

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Author: K Mohan03 May 2017 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 4

Right from the day one the nurturing of a child should be free from lots of love, affection and above all pampering. In every one house mother likes the boy child and father likes the girl child and the children know that any one of the parents would certainly like and love them and thus they put forth all the wishes and demands before them. Naturally, some demands are met immediately and some are postponed. Once the demands get postponed, the children try to show their annoy and thus comes tantrums which cannot be measured nor tolerated by any parents as the children would resort to such tricks in front of others much to malign the parents. Surely those onlookers who are watching the child demand would certainly prevail upon the parents and make agree to the demand forthwith or make a formidable promise.

Author: Juana18 May 2017 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 4


Your suggestion of “Right from the day one the nurturing of a child should be free from lots of love, affection…" is the most irrational parenting tip that I have come across. Children need all the love and affection that parents can provide. I would never suggest that children be deprived of love and affection – or that these be given in measured quantities. Healthy children, and by healthy I mean emotionally and mentally come from families where love and affection are showered without limit.

The mother likes boy child and father likes girl child tendency creates rifts within families. It should not happen. Parents should love their children equally. Why should the gender of the child be the decisive factor of how much love the child gets from each parent? Is that not weird?

Anyway, I would have preferred practical solutions to the problem rather than the “free from lots of love and affection" logic which doesn't make very much sense.

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